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Toledo firm is sued over waste

Ohio's attorney general is going after a Toledo company that "maintained an illegal hazardous waste facility at their manufacturing operation," according to a lawsuit filed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday.

The environmental enforcement section of the attorney general's office filed the complaint against Fulton Equipment Co., 823 Hamilton St., claiming its Toledo facility "generated toxic or ignitable wastes" that were managed improperly. The suit lists civil penalties and asks the court to force the company into compliance, including possibly closing the facility.

Fulton Equipment, a manufacturer of structural and miscellaneous steel components, annually generated two to three 55-gallon drums of hazardous solvent and liquid paint wastes, the complaint said. In July, 2003, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency conducted a "complaint investigation" and "compliance evaluation inspections" at the facility, where officials observed the "unlawful treatment and disposal of hazardous wastes."

"Specifically, Ohio EPA inspectors observed releases of hazardous waste to the ground as well as open containers of hazardous waste being allowed to evaporate into the air," the complaint said. Other violations were also observed.

A follow-up inspection six months later revealed the violations weren't rectified.

The 19-page complaint alleges 17 violations. The complaint also said the company is liable for a civil penalty of up to $10,000 a day for each violation of environmental laws. The case is assigned to Judge Ruth Ann Franks.

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